DON QUIXOTE against taxes

23/apr/2012 11.15.02 Mario Verdi Contatta l'autore

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DON QUIXOTE against taxes

A wrong Business Sector Analysys*. It is the beginning of a company misfortunes with the
Inland Revenue Office. That doesn’t even want to listen any reasons. BY CORRADO GIUSTINIANI

“But how can I explain that you are making a mistake? that your Business Sector
Analysis is absolutely wrong?”. Vincenzo Freni couldn’t understand how the Inland
Revenue was contesting him 130,000 euros as evaded taxes and penalties for year
2006 (rose in the meanwhile to 200,000 euros) and officials who summoned him
didn’t want to delve deeper into the matter. “Your professional association gave the
“go-ahead” to the parameters of SG4IU Business Sector Analysis” �“ they kept
telling him �““Let’s do it this way: give us half of the sum and your problem is
over” Mr .Freni is the holder of a homonymous small research, surveys and
marketing company in Florence, and probably the only one in whole Tuscany. "I
have two employees and never escaped a cent" he swears. He rejects the transaction
and contacts Assirm, the Italian Association of marketing research companies,
which gather together the major companies of this sector such as Ipsos, GfK
Eurisko, Doxa. He discovers that what the tax officials said was not true: Assirm has never given the “goahead”
to this Business Sector Analysis. "We have been contacted in 2007 for the first time” confirms Cecilia
Gobbi, Director of Assirm Association, which refers to Confindustria (the main association of the biggest
Italian companies), “when SG4IU Analysis was already done. We pointed out our observations, showing
how the sample was not statistically representative of this market sector, but they haven’t taken into account
our remarks. At a later time, when they contacted us about a successively analysis, we repeated the same
observations, and they have not taken into account our comments once again."
But what the starting point of the mistake is?
They put into the same “recipient” both research companies - with their structure of costs, employees, rent of
headquarters, facilities and computer networks - and individual professionals employed as interviewers or
business consultants, as well as other companies with very different activities, such as those operating in the
advertising industry. "We brought some real cases, of course hiding the company names, to show them how
different were the data coming out from the Analysis, but �“ again - there was nothing to do," says Cecilia
Gobbi.
The definitive proof of the mistake lies in the sample chosen to process calculations, about 1,700 economic
entities, while in this sector, gathering together Assirm members and not, there are no more than 150
companies. And the so-called clusters - homogeneous groups of taxpayers within the survey Analysis - did
not improve the quality of the study. "They are grouped by data collectiong methodology, such as telephone
surveys” also points out the Assirm Director “whereas the first parameter must be the distinction between
companies and self-employed workers."
Let’s get back to Freni case. He appeals to the Tax Commission and asks to be subjected to the 2008
Business Sector Analysis, where the gap of the amount is reduced from 130.000 to 25.000 euros; no way,
because the 2008 Analysis takes into account the correctives used for the unexpected economic crisis. And
what about cutting off these correctives? Request denied.
Of course, no way to use the more advanced 2009 Analysis, by which the debt with the Inland Revenue
would be reduced to less than 4.000 euros. Freni loses his first round towards Tax Commission and now will
re-appeal.
His last desperate attempt is a letter to the Taxpayers Guarantor, in which he points out that with the
"officials of room 314 of Florence” there was no cross-examination, but only their offer to halve the amount
due. This story confirms that Business Sector Analysis are far from being unerring.
Fully operative since 1998, these inductive assessment tools do not estimate income, but the proceeds of
companies and remuneration of self-employed workers. So far, 206 Business Sector Analysis have been
developed and applied to more than 4 million economic entities, with revenues up to 5.16 million a
year. According to the latest data, the incongruous taxpayers �“ the ones who declare incomes other than the
Analysis, are about 30%. It’s better to fall into line, for not having inspections. But you can do it by
cheating. I'm a barman and I reduce the size of my premises to get to the exact value that the Analysis
predicts. And the Inland Revenue Office will leave me in peace and quiet.

(*System for calculating the presumed income of particular categories of taxpayers,
used by the Italian tax authorities to fight tax evasion)

(Corrado Giustiniani - L'Espresso - 22/03/2012)

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